The FAA was slow getting NextGen up and running, Transportation Department inspector general Calvin Scovel told the House aviation committee on Wednesday, but he said the program has improved and will be worth the investment in the long run. In a hearing to examine the progress of NextGen initiatives, FAA officials told the House panel they have learned from their mistakes and expect the system to deliver major benefits. The agency will spend $2.4 billion over the next five years to move from a radar-based system to a system using satellite technology, according to the Washington Post. The increased efficiency is expected to save billions of gallons of fuel.
Paul Rinaldi, president of the National Air Traffic Controllers Association, told the House panel that NextGen will transform the national air transportation system. "Collaboration is the key to a successful transformation," he said. "Because of current collaboration efforts among industry leaders and stakeholders, NextGen is moving forward in many areas." Rinaldi also said that streamlining the FAA rulemaking process would help to better implement the new efficiencies being developed by the new technology. The panel also heard from FAA acting administrator Michael Huerta and several other government and industry officials. A video of the hearing and the full text of the witness testimony are posted online.